The iPad made so many bold promises when it launched earlier this year. Surprisingly, it lived up to a few of them, but others were left conveniently forgotten – like being able to buy books on the Australian iBooks Store. Well, that changed today, although why anybody would actually use it is beyond me.
Accessing the store through the iBooks app, there are now books from publishers like HarperCollins, MacMillan and Murdoch books, among others. The selection is limited, as you’d expect from a new service, but that’s hardly the problem.
The problem is pricing. Classic books like Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden cost $14.99, when the Kindle version is $US10, and you can pick the book up for a couple of bucks at a used book store. Newer books like John Howard’s Lazarus Rising cost $32.99, which is surprisingly cheaper than both the Borders and Kindle options, but still more expensive than grabbing the hardcover from Amazon.
Considering that these digital books are laced with DRM, don’t allow sharing, and are significantly more expensive than buying a physical book (which costs a lot more to print, ship and store on bookstore shelves), somebody is trying to have a laugh at consumers expense. The appeal of ebooks is that you don’t need to factor in all those expenses and therefore the savings should be passed on to the consumer. Trying to charge a premium for a small, DRM filled file is absurd.